Management consultancy firm PPT Group will integrate the transformative capabilities of Microsoft Copilot, an AI-powered collaboration tool for Microsoft 365, into its portfolio of client services.

“Platform shifts in technology have always defined the eras of innovation. From text-based computing to the GUI, the internet and mobile, and now AI, we are on the cusp of another monumental shift. AI will transform how business across all industry sectors operate, collaborate, and improve internal efficiencies,” says Tony Silva, MD at PPT Group.

The alliance between Microsoft and OpenAI has produced Copilot, a powerful AI assistant feature integrated into Microsoft 365 applications and services. PPT’s implementation of Copilot will offer South African companies a platform to benefit from this next shift in technology.

Howdens Joinery, listed on the London Stock Exchange and a prominent FTSE 250 company, has been selected as one of only 600 companies worldwide to gain early access to Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365.  Howdens Joinery has appointed PPT Group to drive its broader AI strategy, including managing the execution and integration of Copilot.

With over 11 000 employees and a market capitalisation of $4-billion, the company has tasked PPT Group with ensuring that this improved efficiency falls to the bottom line and is not simply an inflationary technology cost.

“Having a South African consultancy being part of this rarified initial release proves that we can compete on the world stage,” says Silva.

“We’ve always believed in not just envisioning the future but also in enabling and executing it. Microsoft Copilot is a manifestation of that belief. It’s not about merely changing the tech landscape; it’s about unlocking substantial time savings – allowing professionals to reimagine how they invest their time.”

Highlighting the broad applications and implications of AI, Silva continues: “Every company needs to have AI on its radar. It’s an essential element that must be part of any digital strategy.

Whether it’s to combat challenges like cybercrime or to adapt to industry shifts, the conversation around AI will inevitably find its way to boardrooms, he says. The real game-changer lies in sectors like finance. Many finance functions still operate heavily in platforms like Excel. With Copilot, we can empower financial teams to redefine their roles, driving efficiencies of up to 20% and beyond.”

Of course, the journey with AI is not without its challenges, Silva adds.

“AI adoption is in its hype cycle. There are fantastic tools available, but the friction of using them can be high. It’s essential for these tools to become seamlessly integrated into our ways of working. Companies, especially the larger ones, need to be agile in their innovation approaches.

“Furthermore, tools like AI will require companies to think differently around how their data is structured and where it is stored. It is not a case of simply switching on with Copilot. It is a process that requires a new approach to how data and its ownership is understood within the business.”